-- Mark My Way --
|■||Niek Van de Capelle||Guitar|
|■||Lennert De Clercq||Guitar|
Review written by Stijn “Metal Shredder” Daneels.
[METAL SHREDDER REPORTING]
A week ago Mark My Way’s guitarist Lennert invited me for a preview of his band’s upcoming album “Thin the Herd.” Although hardcore isn’t my favorite music genre, the band’s music video for the single “Spread Too Thin” left a very solid impression on me so I’ve now decided to shred this album prematurely!
“Thin the Herd” is the debut album for the Ypres-based metallic hardcore act Mark My Way who formed in 2012 and released 3 EPs before coming up with this full-length. The album is released through Dust & Bones Records, Genet Records and Kick Out The Jams. The album begins with the aforementioned single “Spread Too Thin” and I immediately noticed the band’s sense of melody thanks to the ambient introduction and the song’s beautiful ending guitar solo. The typical shouts and grunts do provide the necessary hardcore vibes along with some grinding riffs during those vocal parts.
That same vibe, albeit slower and less powerful, returns in the album’s second track, “Justification.” Fortunately, the band’s melodic side returns in “Higher Walls.” A song that, like “Spread too Thin” before it, is a beautiful mix of solid hardcore beats and vocals with melodic interludes, particularly in the song’s ending wherein a lengthy guitar solo jams alongside a crunchy breakdown. “Overlooked” is another two-faced beast of a track that starts off with catchy guitars before transitioning into a series of roaring breakdowns and finally another sweet dual guitar solo.
The album’s fifth track, “Vae Victis,” goes full-on hardcore while its subsequent track, “Perdition” goes the other way with a gentle, acoustic guitar cool down. “At The Gates” is a darker tune with a moody opening and followed up with galloping beats and shrieking vocals. “Nothing but Sacrifice” is a badass track with a tandem of hardcore and rap vocals. “Regicide” is a short grinder tune with a marching main riff, classic hardcore shouts and a pounding breakdown and finally “Flux” provides some beautiful, meditative piano to wrap up this excellent metallic adventure.
“Thin the Herd’s” cover art features some animal skull (with some weird glass-like optical on top of its eye) in a dried-out piece of land surrounded by dead black leaves and flourishing red flowers. First off, I find the cover art to be quite original for a hardcore release (I associate this cover art more with desert rock) and aside from that, it’s a striking visual metaphor for nature itself. Nature is beautiful, but also merciless. Full of life, but also of death.
[SHARPEST SHREDS & BLUNTEST BLADES]
My top picks go to the tracks “Spread too Thin” and “Higher Walls” since both tracks strike the best balance between the guitar-driven melody and the usual hardcore rage. I also enjoyed the grim atmosphere of “At The Gates” and the rap vocal delivery on “Nothing but Sacrifice.”
Personally I consider the songs “Justification” and “Vae Victis” to be the weakest tracks on the album. Both songs felt too much like generic hardcore without any of the melodic tweaks that Mark My Way has put in the album’s other songs. In any case, aside from that little filler, this album requires me to plant…
8 red flowers out of 10. Mark My Way doesn’t rely on cheap tricks to make their hardcore sound badass. Instead, they offer a classy, melodic sound with sharp riff layers and various convincing vocals. A worthy member of the current H8000 wave! Let’s “Spread too Thin!”